Johnny Appleseed Festival

Mark Your Calendar!
Saturday, September 30, 2017 (9am – 4pm)

Johnny Appleseed Festival Dancers

Johnny Appleseed Festival Dancers

Thanks to all of our sponsors, business owners, volunteers, and the community for supporting this great event!

We are already making plans for next year’s 25th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival in Downtown Crystal Lake.  Mark your calendar for the last Saturday in September!

Did you know?  John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was a real-life historical figure whose wilderness adventures became larger-than-life legends.  He was known as a kind and gentle man who planted apple trees throughout the Midwest.  Meet and greet Johnny Appleseed himself, as he strolls the streets of downtown, telling his story throughout the day.

Crystal Lake’s largest one-day event brings families and the community together to celebrate Fall.

Major Event Sponsor:
Home State Bank

Highlights from the 2016 Johnny Appleseed Festival:

Click here for a printable event brochure


Pie Baking Contest!!
Ten bakers competed against each other. Pies were judged on appearance, taste, and crust.
Congratulations to our winners:
1st Place – Alexiimg_3448s & Isabella Shipman (center)
2nd Place – Julie Gilligan (left)
3rd Place – Linda Elliott (right)






Pie Eating Contest!!
Contestants competed against each other and the clock. The rules are as follows:

  • Each participant receives the same kind, size & weight pie.
  • Five minute time limit.
  • Participant will be declared a winner if they are the first person to eat (swallow) the entire pie.
  • If entire pie is not eaten in 5 minutes, winner is determined by remaining weight of uneaten pie.
  • All decisions are final.
  • Entry fee: $5
  • All pies are made by Benedicts La Strata with the exact same number of ingredients


1st Place – Nevin Forstrom
2nd Place – Jay Dimopoulos
3rd Place – Mark Frimann

(photo coming soon)



Scarecrow Decorating Contest!!

Dozens of scarecrows adorned the lightpoles in Downtown Crystal Lake. Businesses and individuals competed for bragging rights in six categories.  And the winners are:
Scariest – Duke’s Alehouse
 Most Colorful – Ms. Bossy Boots
Most Creative – Yours & Meyn
Most Humorous – Buy Local Books
Most Representative of Business – Marvin’s Toy Store
 Judges’ Choice – Thomas’ Tails

The creativity of the scarecrows gave Downtown something to “crow about”! Click here for a Scarecrow Decorating flyer.

Highlights from the 2016 Johnny Appleseed Festival:
Click here for a printable event brochure

FREE ENTERTAINMENT!! Downtown will come alive with music and fun.

Northwest Highway will be singing and playing music at Brink Street Market throughout the day.

Music and entertainment in Depot Park — all day! In the afternoon, The Corner Boys will be entertaining the crowds.

Craft Fair – Ormsby Motors’ Parking Lot

A Craft Fair (9AM – 4PM) will be held in Ormsby Motors’ parking lot. Dozens of vendors displaying beautiful and unique handmade items (everything from quilts to painted rocks to jewelry to fabric tote bags to crocheted items to holiday decorations to….well, you get the picture!).

Demonstrations and More FREE Entertainment!!

View and participate in demonstrations of an antique apple cider press and apple peelers, provided by the Crystal Lake Historical Society. There will be musical groups, dance presentations, martial arts demonstrations, storytelling in front of the Raue Center (provided by the Crystal Lake Public Library), and so much more! Free balloon art creations in front of Crystal Lake Bank & Trust (70 N. Williams) from 10AM to 12PM. Lots of fun for everyone!

Low Cost Entertainment for the Family!

Activities such as children’s games, pony rides, petting zoo, pumpkin train, pumpkin bowling, temporary tattoos, climbing tower, giant slide, wagon rides, amusement rides, moonwalk, etc. require tickets. Tickets are $1 each. Two ticket/information booths will be setup (one at the corner of Williams & Brink, and one at the parking lot near most of the activities). Click here a detailed list of ticketed activities and the number of tickets required.

The Souvenir Booth (selling apple cider donuts, water, apple juice, apple sippers, apple-shaped sunglasses, Crystal Lake T-shirts & mugs, tote bags, and books) will be located in the Brink Street Market next to the large parking lot. The Souvenir Booth will accept BOTH Cash and Tickets.

Great Ball Race – 3PM

For fast-paced excitement and fun, check out the Great Ball Race on Brink Street. Purchase your chance to win $1,000 at the ticket booth near Dalzell Jewelers. Race time is 3PM. Come on down and cheer your ball on to victory. Click here for additional information about the Great Ball Race.

Thousands of people attend the Johnny Appleseed Festival. We hope you’ll join us in 2017!

2016 Sponsors

The Johnny Appleseed Festival and Great Ball Race are planned, organized and staffed by volunteers.  Thank you to the following sponsors for their support, which enables us to host these wonderful family-friendly events for our community:

Thank you to our Sponsors!

View photos from prior events: